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 SK Broken's Legendary RP Tutorial

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Ace of Aces
RP Storyteller
RP Storyteller

Posts : 14
Join date : 2017-03-07
Age : 26
Location : Australia

PostSubject: SK Broken's Legendary RP Tutorial   Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:26 pm


I'm Ace of Aces Broken and the sorry state of YGO RP on BYOND at this point in time is kind of my fault, since I made it into a real thing on DMU and when Itami quit in a fucking huff and decided to start his own server with blackjack and hookers he also corrupted the rules to give him a massive advantage, and they've been handed down and made periodically worse with each new RP and each new server. So maybe we can fix that.

Before we go on, I should stress that there are many styles of roleplaying, and while I'm talking about RP in general, there's obviously going to be a degree of bias towards the style I'm most experienced with.

RP stands for 'roleplay'. The two words here are important, since we're talking about playing a role. Let's talk about what that entails really quickly. First of all, let's examine 'role'. Here's a dictionary definition: n. A character or part played by a performer or actor. When you make a character, they become your way of interacting with the game world, like the player character in a video game. It's important to stay divorced from the role: you play the character, but that doesn't mean you literally are them. Acting the role is an opportunity to express yourself in ways you normally wouldn't, but it's important to retain clarity; an attack on your character isn't an attack on you, personally.
Next, let's look at 'play'. Technically the play involved in 'roleplay' is a noun, but let's look at the verb form instead: (int) To act in a manner such that one has fun; to engage in activities expressly for the purpose of recreation or entertainment. This is a key point that a lot of people miss: roleplaying is more akin to the games of imagination you played as a child than it is to acting on stage. If you've already decided how things are going to go, there's no point in RPing it. The most important thing is that you should play to find out what happens, not to play having already decided the end result.

Choosing a Setting
Setting, in this context, means "the universe the game takes place in". This could be as small as one island (GX) or as large as dimension-hopping through cities (Arc-V). If multiple worlds are your thing, then that's also part of the setting. The setting is usually the most important part of setting up an RP, since it informs everything from banlist to character creation, and you should have at least this bit fairly well nailed-down before you add anything.
Another possible technique is to paint the world in broad strokes, and let the players add to it as they like. This creates a lot of freedom, but if you're running the place, you need to be ready to roll with it and change any plans you have when the players inevitably go off the rails and start inventing their own fun. Sometimes you might need to put your foot down, and this can get pretty chaotic, but it's also a lot of fun.
In YGO, one thing a setting has to do over everything else is provide some sort of intrinsic conflict mechanism that pushes the players - teenagers playing children's card games - to interact with one another. Otherwise, you end up with eighty percent of your intro-to-scene posts being "X would sit in the game shop".
Now, let's look at some common choices of setting.

Duel Academy
Arguably the standard setting, and one that has been popular since before GX even canonized the concept. 'High School AU' is never going to be an unpopular choice because it's something almost everyone can relate to, and the conflict mechanism is built for you, especially if you use GX's dorm system which creates instant class schisms without having to resort to the kind of player-hosing that often shows up in 5Ds-style RPs. A downside to this kind of setting is that it often becomes very insular, which means it can be hard to create an outside enemy if you want to make the players work together; you really have to work at introducing new stuff to keep things fresh.

Literally 5Ds - Not Recommended
Or if you must do it, start from after the Fortune Cup, when the show had thrown this particular aspect of it out entirely: a big part of 5Ds is the dystopian divide between Neo Domino and Satellite, and that's primarily reflected in the form of Satellite Scum having trash cards and seriously limited resource access (not to mention the classism). The problem is, for a lot of people, that really isn't very much fun, so you need the right kind of group to make this work. On the other hand, after Fortune Cup or if you want to go even further, after the timeskip, this problem is pretty much diminished, but at that point you may as well not be playing 5Ds in the first place, which makes it something of a mixed blessing.

Battle City - Not Recommended
The problem with Battle City as a format is that it's very hard to be self-sustaining, since you either knock people out early and lock them out of the story, or you end up with a slowly-chugging tournament arc. Most Battle City RPs I've seen have never reached the finals. If you must do it, then use it as the excuse to have all the PCs in one place, and then change to doing something else that's more linearly focused.

Free City
Another standard type of RP, this one goes "here is all this scenery and do what you like in it". It does tend to lead to the aforementioned 'X would sit in the game shop' kind of posts; you realy need to have players who are willing to introduce their own aspects and events into the setting, and you need to be willing to help them do that, or else this sort of thing rapidly stops working very well - or rather, at all.

This one is the elephant in the room alright. These days a lot of RP banlists look like this or this. There's a lot of finicky bullshit that goes into making a good banlist, and I'll try and address as much of it as I can.

'Staple' is kind of a buzzword that means 'anything I don't like' these days, but its intended use here is 'non-archetyped cards with impact effects'. Mystical Space Typhoon, Dark Hole, Solemn Warning, and Mirror Force are all examples of 'staple' cards. A lot of idiots like to be like "BAN ALL THE STAPLES BECAUSE CREATIVITY" but something about YGO is that decks are heavily archetyped; most decks that become meta are just called by their archetype name rather than having any individual qualifier, and the reason for this is that the vast majority of them have very good archetype-specific support. A lot of archetypes have, in common, cards with effects like "MST but more if you control an X", or "Warning but more if you control an X" or "Pot of Greed if you discard X".
Less-supported archetypes don't have that kind of option, and therefore rely on the inclusion of staples to give them the flexibility and power they need to compete.
In short, actually hitting staples, rather than encouraging creativity, decreases it, because it dramtically deepens the quality gap between good archetypes and bad archetypes.

Archetype Mixing
Never ban this. That is all. If you want people's deck to follow a theme, that's fine (and encouraged), but it should be something they can sum up in a few words, not something dictated by the archetype written on the cards in their deck.

Technically this can work but it doesn't work... well. Highlander is "you only include one copy of each card in your deck". It's pretty common to demand this for the extra deck as well, which is also stupid, and the reasons given are almost always "b-b-b-but anime" (even though that's wrong), so unless you have really good players, I don't recommend this one.

Unique Cards
Dangerous ground. At best you should limit this to stuff you're actually going to build the plot around, which means they need to be cards that are generally good enough to be usable. If you make like every half-decent card unique it's going to be very difficult for pretty much anyone to build a deck they actually like the look of, especially when taking into account staples like Stardust Spark Dragon and so on. Usually, I'd recommend making only one small set of cards unique, if you absolutely have to.
Another possibility is to simply not have unique cards per se, but have "original" one-off versions of cards that have buffs, like a super prototype version, or the only magical version, which is like having your cake and eating it too.

Custom Cards
Difficult to keep up with since you need to keep track of enough cards for a deck (for most characters) and keep them in mind when playing against proxies. You can do it, but you need an experienced group and a good eye for fairness to pull this off.

Stuff to Consider
There are two types of deck you should really consider knocking out of the running: those that currently exhibit overwhelming power, and those that are extremely slow to play against. Sets like Ghostrick fall into the latter category, for example. You should also consider that in an RP, you want people to be able to choose archetypes that aren't as good, which means you should be careful around archetypes that require specialized tactics to defeat; Majes is a good example. In reality, though, this is something that you will work out for yourself as you play with both the same people and different people, and it's something you need to reevaluate when DMG updates.
Also, you can use the underground to create a wholly-custom banlist, but I don't recommend that, as it requires a lot more effort on your part than is really necessary; DMG's anime banlist isn't always the greatest but usually it's pretty on-point.
As a final point, if your setting knocks out an entire kind of card (no Pendulums, for example), you need to examine what impact that will have on the rest of the game before you get started on your banlist.

Be Open to Change
Circumstances change and let's be blunt, nobody's perfect. There are probably cards on your banlist that shouldn't be there, and cards that aren't on there that should be. Listen to what the people you're playing with tell you, and be open to change things if you need to. Similarly, sometimes it's easier to ask someone to simply drop their deck than to actually go about banning things - usually if they hit on some stupid combination of cards that don't deserve to be banned otherwise - but be reasonable about it.

Special Limit
This is a variation on the banlist which works in one of two ways: either "you can only play X card in Y deck", or "you cannot play X in Y deck". Usually this is either that a given card is really stupid outside of its own archetype, but works okay within it (like most of the high-end Galaxy-Eyes stuff since Galaxy as a deck is like why.jpeg), or a card which is normally fine but in one specific context it's extremely stupid. An example I like is allowing the flip-down MF in Mystic Swordsman.dek since that deck needs all the help it can get but that card is utterly stupid in most decks.

Original the Character
Making a halfway decent character is hard. It's really tempting to just rip them off from some other show and slap a standard cookie-cutter outline on them. For YGO, there's really two ways to go about making the character: either pick a deck you want to play, and create a character that suits them; or make a character you think sounds interesting, and then create a deck to match them. Remember that Kazuki Takahashi's ideal was that a deck should represent the heart and soul of the character playing it.

You're Special
A player's character is a protagonist, and the protagonist is, by definition, special. Whether it's their circumstances, backstory, or ability, a protagonist is never a plain old person. Even someone who is otherwise normal can be elevated to the level of protagonist with an unshakeable will or unerring confidence.
Now, that being said, don't go full mary sue speshul snowflake - at least not at first. Later on, as you get a feel for the people you play with, as well as your own tastes and abilities, you'll be able to push characters to more exotic heights.
Obvious no-nos include: rape as backstory, killed own parents of own volition, best friends with canonical character, split personality.

Canonical Characters
This is a bit iffy, and it depends on how you want to play them. Part of the problem here is that plot armor is much harder to have and justify in an RP, which means that a canonical character may not do as well as they did in their actual show. Generally speaking, because I encourage original settings, I also discourage the use of canonical characters, but if you wanted to do, say, a continuation of GX, then there wouldn't be any problem with having canonical characters around - but I would still argue that they shouldn't be the focus.

RP Dueling
Don't be a fucktard. That should be obvious from word one, but you'd be surprised how many people aren't good at this. If there's an argument about rulings, treat it calmly and move on. Also, RP decks often run really strange cards that people aren't used to using, so you should be nice and let people take back moves if they've done something obviously-stupid, especially if it's a mistake their character wouldn't ever make. It's not uncommon for people to re-play games if they thought they were garbage, even if they were the one who won - remember that when people are complaining about the anime, most complaints are about games the protagonist cleaned up with ease that was boring. Basically, have some manners, and try and keep things fun. You can trash-talk as much as you like in-character, but try not to be an asshole about it out of character.

Ask Me Anything
If you want some more specific feedback, you can ask questions here in this thread (which I'd encourage so that everyone can see the answers), or you can hit me up on the DMG RP group discord.

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